Perez fends off Verstappen to win Saudi Arabian GP; Alonso’s podium reinstated

    Red Bull scored another 1-2, while Alonso collected his 100th F1 podium finish.

    Published On Mar 20, 2023 10:06:00 AM

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    Sergio Perez won the Saudi Arabian GP ahead of Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen, who made his way up from 15th on the grid. Fernando Alonso was initially stripped of his podium, however, stewards later reversed their decision after further review.

    • Perez wins 5.355secs ahead of Verstappen
    • Verstappen leads championship by one point
    • Alonso’s podium reinstated after review

    Red Bull domination

    We’re two races into the 2023 F1 season and one thing that has become abundantly clear is Red Bull’s pace advantage. The team clinched another commanding 1-2 finish, and that is despite Verstappen having to start down in P15 due to a driveshaft issue in qualifying.

    Polesitter Perez opted to start the race on medium compounds, while those behind him were on softs. As a result, he briefly lost the lead to Alonso, only to fight back and reclaim the place down the main straight.

    But Perez had another threat coming up, with his teammate Verstappen swiftly cutting through the field. The Safety Car period – triggered by Lance Stroll stopping on track – only helped Verstappen, essentially giving him a free pitstop.

    However, Perez was able to fend off the reigning champion, with Verstappen managing driveshaft concerns late in the race. “It turned out to be tougher than expected. We really did a good job in the first stint, but that Safety Car again tried to take the victory from us in Jeddah, but not this time! I was owed a victory last year, so finally I got it,” Perez said.

    Alonso secures 100th podium

    Early in the race, Alonso was handed a five second penalty for not lining up on the starting grid correctly. He served that penalty during the pitstop under the Safety Car and went on to finish third. But just moments after the podium celebration, he was handed a 10 seconds penalty for not serving his initial penalty correctly.

    The stewards originally ruled that the rear jack was touching the car while serving the penalty. However, upon further review, the result was reinstated. With this, Alonso becomes only the sixth driver in F1 history to collect 100 podium finishes.

    Mercedes slotted in behind, with George Russell fourth and Lewis Hamilton fifth. They were followed by the Ferrari duo of Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc. Leclerc also had to fight his way up the order after starting down in P12. But both drivers looked dejected after the race; after all, Ferrari finished over half a minute behind race winner Perez. Esteban Ocon, Pierre Gasly and Kevin Magnussen completed the top 10.

    2023 F1 championship standings

    Having gained an extra point for setting the fastest lap, Verstappen retains the championship lead, but he’s just one point ahead of Perez. Fernando Alonso is third overall, 13 points behind Perez.

    Next up on the F1 calendar is the Australian GP from March 31-April 2

    2023 Saudi Arabian GP results

    2023 Saudi Arabian GP results
    PosDriverTeam
    1Sergio PerezRed Bull Racing
    2Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing
    3Fernando AlonsoAston Martin
    4George RussellMercedes
    5Lewis HamiltonMercedes
    6Carlos SainzFerrari
    7Charles LeclercFerrari
    8Esteban OconAlpine
    9Pierre GaslyAlpine
    10Kevin MagnussenHaas
    11Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri
    12Nico HulkenbergHaas
    13Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo
    14Nyck de VriesAlphaTauri
    15Oscar PiastriMcLaren
    16Logan SargeantWilliams
    17Lando NorrisMcLaren
    18Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo
    NCAlex AlbonWilliams
    NCLance StrollAston Martin

    Also see:

    Verstappen cruises to Bahrain GP victory as Alonso returns to podium

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